Conditions of life

Sitting on the train this morning, I felt warm and comfortable and in my own little bubble. I’d have been happy to travel for another hour undisturbed. I felt sad, though, and part of it was knowing that soon enough, I must get off the train and make the familiar journey to the office.

I’m here now, sitting in my corner. I’ve had a chat with some of the guys upstairs and a laugh with someone the other side of the office. I’ve collected my morning coffee from downstairs, stopping for the regular chat with the barista. I don’t want to be here.

I guess that’s a general condition in much the same way as it is for most people. Who of us would not rather be at home, or on holiday somewhere? We accept this as the cost of those occasions when we can stay home or go on holiday, or even just to put a roof over our head and food on the table?

I’m the same in that regard, except there was a time it was less keen in me because I took pleasure from doing things. What’s the point of being at home if there’s no sense of having achieved something? And I think in our society we accept that as a fair trade. Having paid the price, we earn our liberty, and that’s how it should be.

For the last couple of weeks, it has been more than just the general condition affecting me. I thought about it as I came in this morning, peering out the window of the train at the passing landscape.

I think it’s all this talk about a new job that has stirred things up. A new job is a good thing, obviously, and for all the reasons I’ve written about. Yet I felt this sense of dismay at the foot of my stomach.

When you’re a rational, thought driven man, you search for reasons for everything. It’s that process – once more – that provides much of the fodder for my writing. You investigate and analyse, postulate and fantasise. The problem is the rational will never untangle the irrational.

You could argue that nothing is really irrational or, at least, beyond understanding – there are reasons for everything, even if obscure and illogical. In someone such as myself, with a strong spirit, but an even stronger mind, the links are more ordered and visible.

When these things bubble to the surface, I try to make sense of it. Why do I feel this way? Is there a reason? And, to be honest, while sometimes the answer might be obvious, mostly the answer I come up with is informed speculation. An educated guess. So it is on this occasion.

This talk of a new position has roused me to the fact that I’m in harness. I might change from one harness to a better one, but the truth remains that I’m in the yolk.

Something I’ve observed as I’ve got older, and having experienced my difficulties, is that I’m much less patient with the sort of thing I would have waved aside previously. I don’t like to fudge my words or obscure intent. I’m less likely to let others off the hook when they take sneaky shortcuts or speak untruths or indulge their ego. I’m the hard eyes that ask questions of them because it’s tawdry bullshit I want no part of.

This explains this sense, if but to a degree, though there isn’t a direct correlation. Doubtless, I’ll come to wave it off in a week or two, I’ll probably celebrate in some small way should one these roles come my way, but right now I feel the compromised agency I possess. I feel the box close about me that mostly I look past.

And what makes it worse is that there are things I want to do. I don’t want to stay home and sleep in, I don’t even necessarily want to lounge on some sunny beach. I want to write, as I did yesterday (which probably triggered this).

I feel I start along pathways I want to follow with what seems infinite branching’s and I’m intrigued and fascinated and even excited. It fills my mind so that in my off times, I find myself wondering and enlarging on themes I have glimpsed on those brief forays. They are brief though because – you guessed it – I must hitch myself to the plough once more. The freedom of thought I cherish is set to one side, and my mind programmed again to think for another.

These are age-old complaints. This is the existential dilemma, and you’re probably better off being that dumb ox in the yolk because thinking brings you nothing but discontent. I wish I didn’t feel this way, but I’d hate to sacrifice my mind for it. Realistically, I have to accept this state of affairs because it’s the only way I can subsist. It will settle down. I’ll get one of these roles and have more money in my account, and I’ll be happy. I know now there is more to it than that, and even if I get back to where I was before there will always be more to it. I will go through this again, and I wonder, is that a condition of life?

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